My Favorite Things

For those of us in the vast cat blogosphere, I would wager only a small handful of us have not heard of the Petties Awards, as the event has become prominently mainstream as of late. I know for me personally, it seemed my whole life for the past few months had been consumed with little to nothing else.  Now that the dust has settled and I find myself with time to reflect, I realize that although it truly was an honor to be nominated for “Best Designed Blog,” I also realize the awards are highly subjective and not without certain limitations. 

Being a lover of writing and books, I have an enormous personal library of literary works – some are reference, some are worn and beloved classics, some are deliciously racy works of fiction, some are epic historical romances of days gone by, and, of course, many of them are about cats! With each and every day that passes, I find for me, that I now have a certain few cat blogs that I frequent regularly that are becoming a cherished collection of works, just like my library.

My cat Rolz as he stretches regally next to my prized book collection

A couple of the Pettie Award winning blogs were already worn out favorites of mine, such as  The Conscious Cat that won for the category of “Best Pet Blog,” and  Catsparella for “Best Social Interaction Blog.”  At BlogPaws, I was introduced to further winners with blogs that I was unfamiliar with, such as CatladylandCovered in Cat Hair, and Modern Cat , and I am looking forward to adding these blogs to my growing and now quite eclectic collection.  And I would be remiss if I did not mention several Pettie nominees who did not win, but that I already absolutely love such as I Have Cat and Mr. Puddy

And this brings me back to why I was reflecting and why I say the Petties are subjective. There are literally thousands of blogs devoted to the subject of cats, each one of them important to the author who created it. Some are intended to teach us, some to entertain us, and some for no reason at all other than to share the love of a pet.  Within those blogs, and outside of the Petties, I have a handful of blogs that I am very devoted to for my own personal reasons – none of them are similar – each is uniquely wonderful to the personalities of the authors themselves and I wanted to share my thoughts on them and why they are so important to me.

One of Bernadette's favorite portraits - "Peaches and Peonies." Peaches was 15 years old when her owner passed away. Bernadette adopted her and they become fast friends. Peaches too, has since passed on, but she remains a treasured memory to Bernadette.

Bernadette Kazmarski of  The Creative Cat  was introduced to me by Ingrid King of the Conscious Cat. Being a new author looking for ways to increase my circle of like-minded peers, Ingrid felt Bernadette and I would have a certain kinship and boy was she was right. Bernadette is an extraordinary and gifted artist in every sense of the word and I was immediately captured by her deep, compassionate, and soulful ways. She is a writer, a photographer, a poet, and a painter – all wrapped up in the context of her love for animals, especially cats.  The first post I ever read of hers was  titled “How Much They Care,” in which she shared her opinion that cats have an enormous capacity for emotion, love, intuitiveness, and concern, despite what the critics might say. She wrote with such profound honesty and heartfelt emotion that she brought me to tears and the post stayed in my thoughts for days. Not so much because she made me sad, but because she so eloquently and beautifully expressed the deep and profound love that I too feel for my cats. I know how special they are, what a gift they are to my life, however short or long I am graced to have their companionship, and she expressed those thoughts to me in such a gripping way that it reached the depths of my heart and soul.

Bernadette feels the words she writes and each post she writes is a chapter in a book of a lifetime – she has the ability to be both haunting and melancholy, yet very humble, richly descriptive,  and honest – above all, she respects cats and it shows in every post she writes. She compliments her posts with either beautiful photographs that she has taken herself or paintings that she has created. Whether a photo or canvas, the lighting and composition is so superb that each image alone causes you to take a moment to pause and reflect, as you are furher pulled into the beauty of  the story she is weaving. I could be wrong, but I feel that Bernadette is a deeply private person, despite that she shares so many personal moments of her life and I feel privileged to be a part of her world. She and I are also part of a wonderful club – we both have seven cats, so I know she truly does understand just how individually unique and special each of these creatures are.

The next blog that I enjoy enormously was also introduced to me by Ingrid, and once again, Ingrid was spot on with her assessment of bloggers I would connect with! I reached out to Layla Morgan Wilde of Cat Wisdom 101 asking to be her friend on facebook. What followed was a chain of events that are now becoming seemingly more and more “normal” for me. She responded by inviting me to a birthday party… for her cat… her cat with one eye, the irascible Odin! Once the shock wore off – just where was my life leading me? A birthday party for a cat? I realized that it was exactly where I belonged and what I wanted to be doing. I responded by creating my first ever “Caturday” post by doing a parody of my cat Mia driving to the mall in her convertible to buy a new hat to wear to Odin’s birthday party! It was completely silly and a wonderful venture into the world of clip art and Photoshop as I used Mia as my kitty Barbie Doll for a day of dress up!  Soon after that, I became hooked on Layla’s blog, in particular, her Saturday posts that are a guilty pleasure of mine! I find that I like to grab a cup of coffee as I share my day with Layla, her human husband, and her four feline household stars – Merlin, Gris Gris, Domino, and Odin, as well as one foster – a miss Ling Ling, and, as of late, a Bengal stray that has taken up room and board!     

What I love most about Layla is that she has a wonderful sense of honest humor and a conversational  way of bringing you into her world, primarily through the perspective of her cats who take turns writing. Becasue she typically writes through the eyes of her cats, especially on her Caturday posts, she is spot on accurate in understanding the nuances of a cat and her storytelling is compelling, humorous, and thoroughly engaging. She peppers each post with vivid and stunning photographs of her gang that she has taken and I literally feel as if I am walking down the garden with her and her cats, enjoying a beautiful summer morning before the day becomes too unbearably hot, the imagery is that visual and real.  The other thing I love about Layla is her honesty about cats – she will often bring up topics and subject matter that are a bit controversial and provocative in nature, such as indoor vs. outdoor cats and killing birds. I personally don’t read her blog to make judgment, I read it because I enjoy it and she gets me to thinking, which is a good thing! 

Austin looking typically disinterested as Tigger looks on. Tigger is a stray that likes to hang out with Austin and Carolyn!

I found the next blog, CATachresis, quite by accident. One of those meme’s were going around the blogosphere and I think I saw the name in another bloggers comments. Intrigued by the word CATachresis, I decided to check out the blog and was immediately drawn to the sarcastic, droll,  and razor sharp wit of this UK based blog that was written by Carolyn Retallick and her primarily bored, but extremely perceptive tuxedo cat, Austin, as Austin answered his own meme. Infused with stellar vocabulary, metaphors, and fancy linguistics, I was drawn to her blog that was both intellectually stimulating, while being hysterically funny!  I absolutely love to learn and I enjoy the challenge of finding answers to something I don’t know. Carolyn has the incredible ability of creating posts that are both entertaining and educational. Most of the time I know what she is talking about, but once in a blue moon she will throw in a word that I have never heard of. Rather than ignore it or pretend I understand what it is, I will pick up my dictionary and look it up!! I love the old fashioned task of thumbing through a dictionary and Carolyn keeps my brain on its toes, so to speak! Carolyn will often state that her blog might be a bit aimless with no real purpose, but I wholeheartedly disagree. I love whatever subject matter pops up, each post a wonderful new foray into some devilishly funny direction that only the British can do with such bravado and aplomb! Not to mention, I have a huge crush on tuxedo cats, so Austin is the “cats meow” in my eyes!

Did I mention what a good sport Cody is??!!

The last blog I would like to mention should come as no surprise to those of you that know me, and that is Cat Chat with Caren and Cody, which is a perennial favorite of mine. What I love about this blog, is that it is a smorgasbord of everything and anything related to cats. From serious stories, to funny video clips to book and product reviews, to stories about her cat Cody, every day brings something different with Cat Chat and that is why I enjoy it so much. The diversity ranges from informative to entertaining , but I must admit my favorite posts are those that revolve around Caren’s Cat, Cody. Cody is quite the smart boy, very versed in writing when he feels like posting and is also one of the sweetest, most tolerant, and patient cats I have ever encountered. Being the subject matter of many a post and video, he has the patience of a saint, as I know NONE of my crew would tolerate even half of the stuff he puts up with.

Caren and I don’t remember how or why we became acquainted, but we think it was through twitter introductions. When I first went to her site, the post I happened to see was written by Cody, reviewing Caren’s performance as a blogger and a photographer. It was laugh out loud funny and remains my favorite Cat Chat post and I was hooked ever since. Cody was quite brutal with her, telling her he could find better quality photos in his litterbox, but what I really like most about this blog is how Caren makes OTHER people feel. She is far more talented than she gives herself credit for and is always quick to make light of herself. But how she responds to each and every one of her many comments is astounding and her gregarious personality is contagious. She has the ability to make everyone feel as if she is personally giving them a hug or warm wishes through  the computer. I know when I am having an extra stressful day, I like to pop by CatChat just to read the comments that Caren gets – everyone loves her and it is quite uplifting to just see a warm circle of cat friends chatting with one another.

I know this was a long post, but when I reflect, that is what tends to happen. I think a lot of my current feelings have to do with me going to BlogPaws and meeting so many of my peers in person. I had been struggling for many years previously, trying to figure out what the purpose was to my life. I felt disjointed, like something was missing. But now I feel whole, like I have truly found my home.  The cat community is amazing and the love and devotion we have to our cats and one another is truly a gift and that is why I feel the whole topic of blogs is subjective – each blog holds a different meaning for each and every one of us….

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  1. Bernadette says:

    Deb, I’m so flattered by your description of The Creative Cat and honored to be in such company! Thank you for a wonderful Saturday wakeup!

    • Deb says:

      Bernadette – It was truly a pleasure to feature you in today’s post and I am glad you were flattered, as you deserve the accolades. Have a wonderful Saturday and I look forward to so much more from The Creative Cat!

  2. OMC, what a delightful surprise to see my fur gang as one of your favorites. It’s no surprise that your other choices are favorites of mine as well. Deb, you’re a joy and can’t wait to meet you in person. Thanks for making my day.

    • Deb says:

      Layla – we are all in such good company, aren’t we?! I adore your blog and could not imagine not including you in my list of favorties! I cannot wait to meet you either and am thrilled that I got the opportunity to make your day!

  3. CATachresis says:

    Well! I am chuffed to bits to be included in your favorite things, Deb! Thank you so much for your kind words. I love Caren and Layla’s blogs and will visit Bernadette “toot sweet”.

    I write just to entertain and the blog is only for fun. But as you know I love my cat(s) and I love to laugh. So it’s serendipity 🙂 xox

    • Deb says:

      Ah yes, Caro, even in a blog comment you marvel and entertain me with your thoughts! I am so happy you enjoyed the post and thank you for letting me dust off one of my favorite words, “serendipity!” xoxo

  4. Vicky says:

    I’m a big fan of a number of those blogs as well! Very nice write-up showcasing your favorites 🙂

  5. Cheysuli says:

    We have been blogging about cats and reading cat blogs for about six years now (or is it seven?)–at any rate, long enough to lose count. One thing we have noticed is how things have changed in writing–not just who writes but what gets written and is interesting. Some of our favorites no longer blog. Kukka-Maria used to be our favorite creative, blending current events into Kukka-Maria’s life. The Meezer’s were just funny and we love Mary’s quirky sense of humor when she has time to come by and comment on our blog. Daisy the Curly Cat did fashions and everyone loved seeing her. Luxor’s person took amazing photographs. We find it interesting how different her following is compared to so many others. Sparkle was probably the first “famous” cat from Blog Paws that we followed and we can’t help but love her for that–and while we don’t comment much we love looking at the latest and greatest from Modern Cat! Back in the day, many people used camera phones and got what photos they could and wrote about the cat’s day. Now, there are better designs, more thoughtful articles and even the creatives are perhaps even more larger than life than they were in the beginning.

    • Deb says:

      It is very interesting how blogging has changed Cheysuli. I am very new to all of this – less than a year – and most of the blogs I had seen prior to me venturing out on my own, were just pictures of cats with cute captions! Boy, how far we have come today, and what diversity! What I love most about blogging, is just how uniquely special each blog that we follow is to us for our own reasons. We certainly don’t live in a “vanilla only” world and I am so thrilled by dedication, creativity, and individuality that I see!

  6. Awards are nice, but it’s the blogs themselves that are truly rewarding.

  7. Oh MY!!!! You should get an award just for this piece ALONE! (and not because we were mentioned , but that helps! Kidding!)

    Seriously, you had me in tears, I thank you for including Cat Chat in such an esteemed list. I follow each and every blog that you mentioned (well Robin’s not until we met her at BlogPaws), but I have been a loyal follower of everyone else.

    I love how you mentioned how we all bring something different to the table, that each blog has a different mission, purpose, style, nuance. It is so hard to pigeon hole a blog/bloggers because we all bring something important and special to the table. Yes it is subjective and some blogs resonate with some and not with others, because they have their own individual personalities (just like the people behind the blog)

    I thank you for acknowledging each and every person mentioned on this page, we are all different but we have a few things in common, our love of cats, our love of sharing information, and the fact that we all work DARNED hard doing this!

    This was a gem, just like YOU!
    <3 <3 <3 <3
    BTW Lenny read this and said you are one "hell of a talented writer", I am flattered and honored to have you as my friend 🙂

    • Deb says:

      You are absolutely right Caren, and that is why I felt compelled to write this piece. Blogs are very subjective and the reasons that I menioned as to why each blog is important to me, may be very different for someone else that follows the same blog! I feel like you do – everyone is completely special and unique, but our love for our cats is universally common! I am so glad you enjoyed the post and I was quite proud to include you in my list. I truly could have went on and on – my list of favorites is growing by the day and it really is an amazing circle of people to be a part of.

      Thank you to Lenny for his kind words – I am beginning to like him more with each passing day!! Please give him a hug for me and give yourself one as well!! xoxo

  8. Marg says:

    Those are some really good blogs that are your favorites. We like them all and are not in their league. We do not have a fancy camera or know how to do photoshop but we love to rescue cats and help other people. We are just very thankful to be a part of the Cat Blogosphere and all the very supportive people and cats there. We mainly blog to entertain and try to get the word out about kitties that need homes. But all the blogs that you ;picked are excellent blogs. Layla is one of our favorites just because she does love those cats and also I am a huge advocate of cats being allowed outside only if you live in a location such as we do, where they are fairly safe.
    Thanks so much for coming to visit our humble blog. Take care and have a fantastic day.

    • Deb says:

      Marg –
      So happy you took the time to stop by and say hello. As far as the blogs I have picked, it is not about being in a league – it is about love, compassion, and devotion, of which you are filled to the brim with. Without people like you speaking up for cats and championing them for a better life, where would they be? You deserve an award just for that alone and I hope one day that all the kitties in the world will have a fur-ever home. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your efforts. I love your humble blog and I plan on visiting you much more frequently!! 🙂

  9. I hope to meet you in Salt Lake. I guess with only a few years of “pet blogging” under my belt I am a newbie. But it is such a joy to get to know all of the wonderful bloggers. I know most of those you mentioned and will certainly check out the ones I don’t. One can never have too many cats or cat loving friends. =^..^=

    • Deb says:

      I know what you mean Julia, I have been blogging for less than a year, so I always feel a step or two behind everyone else! It really is a joy meeting everyone and I am certain we will meet at SLC – it’s hard to miss the lady wearing cat ears! 🙂

  10. Kjelle Bus says:

    Hi there !
    Found my way to your blog from CAtachresis.
    Me and mom just love the design on your blog !
    No shall we wonder around a bit on your blog for a while .
    You know I´m a curious cat 😉

    • Deb says:

      Well, hello Kjelle Bus! We are thrilled to have you drop by – any friend of CATachresis is a friend of ours! Wander away and have a great time browsing – we have some really pawsome posts, pictures, and videos!! 🙂

  11. Me saw Caren post about your blog on Facebook, so me came and had a look. Your blog is fabulicious!

    • Deb says:

      Hi Penelope! What a pretty kitty you are! Thank you for stopping by and giving our blog a fabulicious review!!!! Hope you have a really pawsome weekend!

  12. Tucker's Mom says:

    Hello … found you on today’s blog hope – and I see we have some blog friends in common. Your blog is wonderful and your cats are stunning.

  13. Ingrid King says:

    I’m honored to be included in your list of favorites, and I’m so happy I was able to introduce you to some of the others on this list, who are my favorites as well.

    • Deb says:

      Ingrid – I consider you so much more than following a blog, you are a true friend and I am so grateful you introduced me to Layla and Bernadette!

  14. Those are all good blogs you mentioned.